A Way in a Manger

   I am sure you know the Christmas story, and the miracle of it all. Jesus Christ came to earth as a baby and was born in a manger. I am sure you remember just how much trouble they had trying to find a place to stay there in Bethlehem as well. See, it was tax time. Man, what a time that is right? Well imagine this. Crowds of people all coming to this little town and every place was full. Everywhere Mary and Joseph went they were turned away. Now, I doubt they had anything like a Marriot then, but what they did have, I imagine every room was full and there were probably people lying on the floor as well.

   I think they were probably getting sick of trying places to go in to, I mean they already had a very long trip to get there. Don't you think the innkeepers were tired too? Business was good, they were jam-packed, but kept having to tell people there was nothing left to rent out. (Ya' know, they didn't have those neon vacancy signs back then). But finally one innkeeper had something, a stable in the back, with animals around. Imagine that. The King of Kings, Lord of Lords being placed in a stable. Today, I want to talk about that innkeeper.

   Have you ever heard the story and thought, "If I were the innkeeper, I'd do things different." Maybe you would have made someone leave to make way for our Savior, maybe you'd have given them the best room in the house, all the finest linens, all the food they needed, and they wouldn't have to pay for a thing. If you were the innkeeper, of course, you'd also have to know that this was more than just any other baby. See, I think we sell this innkeeper short, and there is a lesson here.

   All the plays, all the movies, all the books we read, pass this innkeeper off as being rude, cruel, and heartless and just gave them a stinky old stable for our Lord to be born in. But wait a minute. Who would you have thrown out of the inn? How would you justify breaking your promise to the people that were there? Everywhere else Mary and Joseph had gone, they were turned away. Atleast here, the innkeeper noticed Mary was with child and was laboring and in pain. He realized as he gave the speech he had probably told hundreds of times about no room, that she was about to give birth. He was a man of his word and did not throw someone out, but made a place for Mary and Joseph. See, he did what he could to help. That was more than a lot of other people did. This innkeeper portrays the message of not breaking promises, but at the same time showing our fellow man compassion and understanding.

   How about you? Are you one that likes to quickly shut the door and hope a difficult situation just goes away like the other innkeepers did? God didn't do that! He saw a difficult situation in this world, and opened the door wide by sending His only begotten Son. What a sacrifice! What love! What compassion!

   With that in mind and thinking about the birth of Jesus, let's think about the true miracle and the true show of compassion. We get lost in the story of angels hovering overhead, friendly animals at His side, wise men coming from afar, and shepherds leaving their flocks to come see Him. But think about that for a minute. He left His realm and came to earth. Our world.

   I am reminded of a song by Simon and Garfunkel called "7 o'clock News/ Silent Night". Many people have no clue who they are, but this song take place back in the late 60's to early 70's. It starts out with the song and faintly in the background you hear a murmuring of a news program. As the song goes on, you hear more of the news, and less of the song as it becomes fainter. In the end, it's just the news. News of Viet Nam, murders, riots, unrest, poverty, and starvation. That's what Jesus came to.

   From the realms of glory to a world full of sickness, death, sin, murder, rape, wars, famine, drugs, poverty, and ultimately a world that would reject and despise Him even though He came to save us. We owe everything to Him. All of it. Everything you have, or ever will have, it is because of Him. And as you get caught up in worldly possessions and opening gifts, think of what Jesus left to come to for YOU. Think about that next time you can't seem to afford a few hours of your time to come to church and worship Him. Think about that the next time you want to take credit for that new job, car, or grade in school, rather than giving Him the thanks and glory. Think about what you are doing for Him, after what He sacrificed for you. And if you have been rejecting Him all your life, and have not accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, think about what it will be like to be separated from Him for eternity as you suffer in a literal burning Hell. Yes, this is about Jesus Christ's birth, but you have to understand, God made a way in a manger, to provide a way to the Cross, so that you might be saved by His precious blood.

 Mike Harris


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